Preamble: This report dates from February 22. The situation has remained effectively the same inasmuch as the intensity and frequency of Ukrainian Army attacks is at a much higher level than previously, but this is yet to develop into a co-ordinated offensive. Today, however, the People’s Militia reports that the Ukrainian Army is building engineering works for fording the Seversky Donets River and a workshop for the repair of military vehicles close to the front line.
Regarding the aggravation of the situation in the DPR:
1. In the past two days the number of shellings significantly increased—artillery was used in addition to small arms, machine guns, grenade launchers and mortars. I have not heard anything about the so-called “withdrawal of weaponry over/below 100mm [calibre].”
2. The main areas are seemingly the same—an arc by the airport, Gorlovka, the Svetlodarsk arc; but it is also worth noting the activisation of firing at Volnovakha, where one of the largest UAF groups of in the Donbass is focussed, aimed at the Elenovka-Dokuchaevsk district.
3. At the same time, the intensification of firing does not mean the beginning of the offensive. Firing became more intensive. It should be understood the losses of the sides increased (as a result of military censorship, tracking losses has become much more difficult; the junta announced today that it has no KIA during a day, only 13 WIA while according to our bulletins they had 9-12 KIA. It is understandably hard to check. The actions are not going beyond attempts to “push the neutral zone”, or to conduct reconnaissance in force, as neither side has received a political go-ahead to launch an offensive. Since there is no truce either, as no one complies with the Minsk Agreement , the strain of a frozen conflict results in systematic shelling and clashes. It can be assumed that the entire next week will pass in a similar way. A lot will depend on events in Syria and on the negotiations of the “Normandy Quartet” in March.
4. According to Zhuchkovsky our side gave the nod to a more assertive response to the junta’s attacks, resulting in increasing losses for the UAF in recent days, which can be seen even by the increase in the numbers of wounded in the junta’s reports.
From the latest reports:
“As of 22:30 the front line continues to rumble. Donetsk. Opitnoye (military unit)-Spartak: infantry fighting (machine guns), special combat team, IFV. Marinka-Trudovskoe, Staromykhailovka, Spartak and Peski: powerful artillery battle. Noisy in the areas of the Airport and Yasinovataya checkpoint. Yasinovataya checkpoint shelled with artillery. North of Gorlovka. Zaytsevo. UAF infantry is attempting to approach the northern outskirts of Gorlovka. Fighting started, then our positions (and the residents in their houses and apartments) were shelled with shrapnel from mines and large-calibre [artillery]. Snipers working on the positions. According to other sources, a fierce battle is commencing around Yasinovataya. In the west, the UAF conducts dense fire from the directions of Yuzhnaya and Mayorsk. On the western outskirts of Gorlovka (Glubokaya) there is an intense submachine gun engagement. Zaytsevo is under pressure from Ukrainian RPGs and special combat units. There is also mortar fire near Zaytsevo.”
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“At 21:16, the UAF simultaneously attacked from two directions the Militia defending Yasinovataya junction. We know the enemy lost up to seven people killed and wounded, and a fuel tanker and a truck with ammunition were eliminated as a result of a lightning attack by the Militia in the direction of Avdeevka-Chervonoarmeysk.”
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“Today at 21:11 everything is reeling and trembling in the vicinity of Donetsk. From 20:30 till this minute an intense battle has been under way near Yasinovataya traffic police checkpoint. Small arms, artillery and tanks are heard. Apparently, Ukies have again gathered to break through the Militia’s lines. All Yasinovataya hears shell bursts. The windows are shaking. We are thinking about descending to the basement. We haven’t done so for a long time. Twenty minutes ago the monotonous cold-blooded destruction of enemy positions started from the Militia side, our guys finally began to use self-propelled guns. Makeevka: we are listening to Yasinovataya for several hours almost without interruption. Loud. Very. I do not know how it is there in Avtomagazin, but we are just in shock here in Yasinovataya! On Trudovskoe, it sounds heavy, often, but at a respectful distance. Gvardeechka—noisy, heavy in the north and north-west. Continues intensely in the north. The vibrations felt are not weak. In Yasinovataya, hot again. Makeevka thunders; Butovka, Putilovka—very close infantry combat and SPGs [self-propelled guns ―ed.]. Twenty-five Years of the Red Army Street is panicking, they hear the heavy calibre very well! Opitnoye (military unit)-Spartak: infantry battle. Peski: shelling towards NAF positions, Ukro-Nazis also using mortar.”
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“Donetsk. The area of Yasinovataya traffic police post was shelled. There is a military unit between Opitnoye and Avdeevka: intense infantry combat (heavy machine guns). Marinka-Trudovskoe: mortar. Krasnogorovka-Staromykhailovka: infantry combat (mortar, IFVs, tanks). Gorlovka unchanged. Powerful bursts of shells in the direction of Zaytsevo, Gol’my, Shirokaya and Zheleznaya Balka. Powerful volleys are heard in the area of Glubokaya mine. Movement of materiel also observed.”
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“Heavy weaponry operates on Donetsk, even TV is unable to drown out the sound of shelling. Gvardeyka, Butovka, Makeyevka shudder. Putilovka: rifle fire, heavy single bursts are added. Avtomagazin is in shock from these bursts from the direction of Makeyevka. Butovka: very close combat. Long outbursts of machine-gun fire and explosions can be heard. Everything is trembling in Donetsk from the heavy combat on all fronts. At Donetsk Regional Central Clinical Hospital powerful bursts. I do not understand the direction. It seems that the firing is from several sides. Petrovskiy district (Donetsk): heavy artillery. Powerful bursts started. Feeling they are in Smolyanka or Balka. Donetsk, Durbalka—heavy volleys. Yasinovataya. After a short lull it rumbles again. Traffic police post—powerful bursts. It seems the night will be terrible! I hear shots and bursts. This ‘happiness’ falls on some people’s heads. The end is not visible.”